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The Beginning of Modern Astronomy *really not much of a revolution …

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1 The Beginning of Modern Astronomy *really not much of a revolution …

2 The 15th Century In 1453 Ottoman Turks overrun Constantinople. Romans flee west into Europe and take books with them. This end the Middle Ages. Most people cannot read or write and generally believe whatever the Bible and other trusted sources said about the world.

3 The 15th Century Astronomy Earth is stationary sphere at the center of heaven. It’s habitable surface is a flat circle with Jerusalem at it’s center. Stars and planets made of a perfect substance called aether a 5 th heavenly element. Moon, sun and stars held in place by invisible crystalline spheres.

4 Recall that astronomical models need to explain the following observations of the sky: 1. Why does the sun exhibit daily motion across the sky each day? 2. Why do the Sun and planets appear to move eastward along the Zodiac? 3. How can planetary brightness variations be explained? 4. Why are Mercury and Venus never seen opposite of the Sun in the sky? 5. Why do some planets have retrograde motion that causes them to appear to go backwards?

5 Recall Ptolemy’s Model

6 Polish Catholic Cleric Observed night sky from an observation tower. Trying to solve the calendar problem. Suggested a Sun centered Universe in a book titled De Revolutionibus, which was not published until the year he died. NOTE: He was well educated and had read Greek astronomy.

7  Heliocentric Universe  De Revolutionibus Orbiun Celestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres)  Idea was opposed by the Catholic Church

8 COPERNICAN MODEL Copernicus has no clue what stars actually are or how far they are away

9 Earth’s rotation caused daily motion from east to west. Mercury and Venus were inferior planets, which explained why they are always seen near the Sun. Sun’s annual motion along the ecliptic (Zodiac) was caused by Earth’s orbital motion (this one was difficult to accept.) Retrograde motion was a natural phenomenon of one planet passing another planet as they orbited the Sun.

10 As a faster moving planet overtakes and passes a slower moving superior planet the superior planet appears to move backwards as you pass by it.

11 Copernican Model Why believe Copernican model? Ptolemy’s model had worked for 1500 years. Ptolemy’s model provided a metaphor of the earth and humans living at the center of God’s creation. Copernicus did not prove that the Earth orbited the Sun. Copernican model did not predict the positions of planets any better than Ptolemy’s model.

12  It was aesthetically more pleasing.  It was more simple. One element – the SUN  It explained observed complex motions as naturally occurring.

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